Party Like It's 126.96.36.199.19
How is this stupid? Let me count the ways:
- This date is claimed to be the end of the Mayan calendar. But in actuality it is just the rollover from the date of 188.8.131.52.19 to the date of 184.108.40.206.0. Oh, yeah, those tricky Mayans used a modified base 20 in this particular calendar, and the fifth digit just happens to roll over from 12 to 13 on 12-21-2012. Kind of like our recent Y2K experience. Except in this case the worst we should expect to see is stone tablets crashing. (Look out below!)
- Yes, the Mayan calendar keeps going. And, when it gets to 220.127.116.11.19, it will roll over to 18.104.22.168.0.0. I don't expect to be around to worry about that one. And in fact there are known records of Mayans quoting dates well beyond 22.214.171.124.0.0, 3,000 years in the future.
- And, speaking of not being around, did anybody notice that the Mayan civilization is no longer around. Seems like if they were so smart, they'd still be here. There are still many Mayans around, but as far as I can tell the full intricacies of their calendar are only relevant in the study of ancient history (and end-of-the-world hoaxes). I'd say their fancy calendar is no longer relevant.
- Of course, all this is based on the interpretation of a dead language and culture by scholars looking at its remnants. Some think the rollover date is December 23, 2012. Others think it is decades off (in either direction), or even centuries. In any case, all the people who know for sure aren't currently available to tell us.
- Um, and nobody has any idea what the Mayans actually thought was going to happen at this interesting point in time. They actually used (according to scholars) several interwoven calendars, and the evidence is that they gathered at the end of each cycle to make sacrifices and see if there was going to be another one.
- This thing about being coincident with the Winter Solstice is just somebody's idea of tying these two things together to make a bigger event out of nothing. But there's no evidence that the Mayans had enough information to predict when the solstice was going to be this far in the future. The precession of the Earth's rotation has changed slowly over the centuries, and there is no way they could have known how much.
- Then there's this thing that people keep bringing up about how the sun is going to be in perfect alignment with the galactic equator on that date. Totally unrelated.
- The galactic alignment is supposed to happen only once every 26,000 years. In fact, the sun orbits the center of the Milky Way Galaxy once every 225-250 million years, and oscillates up and down 2.7 times each orbit. That seems to me to imply that we would cross the galactic equator once every 41 million years or so. 26,000 years is approximately how long it takes the earth' rotational axis to precess through 360 degrees. People who confuse galactic orbital position with the precession of the earth's rotation don't understand astronomy.
- In fact, if you use the precession calculation to figure out this galactic alignment thing, we crossed the galactic equator in about 1998, so that non-event already happened.
- And non-event is what it was. There is not one bit of difference to earth whether the sun is a tiny bit above the galactic equator or below it. No change in gravity. No change in solar flares. No flipping of the earth's magnetic poles. No scorching of the earth by the sun, no gravitational surges, no more earthquakes and volcanos than normal. And the ancient Mayans didn't know anything about the Milky Way galaxy, anyway.
- That's, of course, assuming that the concept of galactic equator can be accurately measured from here based on the relatively little information we've been able to collect in a few decades.
- In any case, wouldn't 12-21-2112 be a numerologically better date for the end of the world?